Hey there check out these incredible updates from our latest release. Enjoy the videos! -Zach
If you are looking to jump into the virtual tour business market (and start making real money with your 360 camera) than this is the perfect article for you.
I am going to walk you through step-by-step, how to start a profitable local virtual tour business with your 360 camera. Even if you have no experience, no portfolio or clients to reference. You can be successful. With a little bit of strategy and some hard work, you can become a virtual tour entrepreneur in a few weeks. Today I am going to show you exactly what to do, and how to reach your goals.
Turning Your 360 Camera Into A Revenue Machine
It is nice to have some extra money in the bank. Whether you are looking to rack in some extra cash for your rent, or you own a digital media company and want to add 30% revenue this year so you can scale (for the advanced), this article will help you bring in consistent new leads every single week into your business.
Here is what we are going to cover…
- The 3 Pillars Of Your Virtual Tour Business
- The Expert Provider Mindset
- How To Determine What Is Really Important To Your Clients
- How To Pick A Niche (Hint: Follow The Money)
- How To Acquire Your First 30 Customers
- How To Price Your Service
- How To Deliver Quickly And Get Paid
- How To Scale And Grow
The 3 Things You Need To Start A Virtual Tour Company
When you are starting your virtual tour business, there is only 3 things you need. Hardware (360 camera and accessories), virtual tour software you can private label (like CloudPano.com) and paying clients. This article is focused on creating consistent paying clients into your business. Because without leads and clients, you won’t have a business. No matter how fancy the camera or smooth the software. You need more leads and more paying customers.
My name is Zach Calhoon the co-founder of CloudPano.com. A virtual tour software to create, host and display 360 virtual tours that quickly bring in consistent revenue into your business. We at CloudPano.com are focused on helping the virtual tour entrepreneur. We built the software (and continue to add features) to help you grow your local virtual tour business (like private labeling and keeping your domain name). But its important to note, today’s article is not software specific. You can use whichever software you please, and still benefit and profit from these strategies.
So lets get started…
The Virtual Tour Entrepreneur – What It Really Takes
360 cameras and virtual tours are an rising incredible technology. But before we get off into the tools and tech. I want to discuss your approach to business and entrepreneurship. Because if you miss this aspect of business, you will struggle every single day. So please if you write down only one thing from this article, have it be this…
“Align With Your Clients Goals By Solving Their Pains and Problems”
Business is very simple. People have problems and pains that are blocking them from reaching their goals. If you can help them overcome those problems, or solve those pains, money will attract itself to you. This is true in every business scenario. You will notice this trend with successful entrepreneurs compared to the struggling newbie who never makes it. If you focus your time and attention on understanding and solving your clients needs, you will naturally and easily make money…. Compared to if you focus on your tools, your tech, your experience, yourself… you will struggle.
For example, read the example table below for the correct mindset as a service provider.
Successful Virtual Tour Provider vs. Struggling Virtual Tour Provider
|Niche||Will Succeed||Will Struggle|
|Real Estate Agent||I help you acquire large luxury listings and sell property faster||I shoot 360 tours of houses|
|Apartment Property Manager||I help you reach 97% occupancy sooner||I create 360 floorplans|
|College or University||Increase application rates guaranteed||I can photograph a virtual tour of your college|
|Small Business||I help increase leads into your store front||I can place a virtual tour on google|
I think you get it…
It’s a natural human instinct to focus on oneself. And you are going to use this instinct to help you sell more virtual tours. But your first step is to know your client’s goals… And remember don’t assume you know their goals. Ask.
How To Reveal What’s Important To Your Clients
(So you can align your value with their goals)
Here are some example questions you can ask a client to help reveal their goals:
- “How is business this year and how can it improve?”
This question helps you understand what they think about 80% of their day. This will reveal pains and problems. Which you will solve (for a fee). Plus the answers you receive should inspire your entrepreneur brain with ideas. This is the process for framing your solution to solve their problems.
- “What are your current objectives?” or “what is
the goal of your marketing?”
- Based on their answer ask a deeper question: “What would that mean for you individually?”
Niche: Property Manager Of A 300 Unit Apartment
You: “Hey I was wondering what your occupancy looks like and how we can help? Where is it currently and what is the goal?”
Property manager: “Well we are at about 92% occupancy and our goal is 97%”
Me: “O really your goal is not 100% Occupancy?”
Property manager: “If we hit 100% occupancy, then we need to increase our prices!”
Me: “Haha! Well one way to raise your prices is to market floorplans in 360 / Virtual Reality. Here is an example demo and even a VR headset to play with…” (hands over CloudPano demo)
Property manager: “Now this is cool…”
Me: “Yep we specialize in making these for apartment complexes
and multi family luxury assets.”
Property manager: “How much does it cost?”
You see how I used their answer to pitch them on my service? This approach builds massive rapport and trust with your prospective client. And it works in every sales scenario, not only virtual tours.
This is how you charge high prices and build a business that makes major impact and produces life change for you.
How To Pick a Niche
Now that you know exactly how to align yourself with your clients needs (and have a sales conversation), you need pick one niche to target. The most successful virtual tour providers start with one niche, then branch off after they have mastered their first niche. I know what you are thinking “Zach, I can make virtual tours for anyone, why would I pick only one niche?” Because you need to align your messaging and your pricing with your customers needs. This will allow you to work on your marketing quickly and keep your quotes clean. That is how you build a system that continues to produce income without you constantly creating custom quotes for every request. And this approach will help you later when you hire and scale. You need to think big!
Action Step: Createasimple spreadsheet with some basic research items. Include the name of your
niche, local market size, approximant budget etc. Here is an example you can
Market Research Example: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1auDQxg_qrldYnpWeIbtoCXi90Ew92h63DRpVwkQ1-bg/edit?usp=sharing
(make sure to select File > make a copy)
When you make this list, you can start to get a feel for your local market. I live in Houston Texas. So I have a huge market for almost every category. Don’t try and go after everyone at once. But prepare you mind for a consistent marketing strategy that is highly targeted. Then make sure to focus on choosing a niche that pays well. A simple shift of focus can increase our income by 4x. You should only spend a few days doing your research. Its ok to guess on some numbers. Get a general idea and move forward to selling. If you are not sure. Just pick one! You can always change later.
Presell Your Niche (On The Phone or In Person)
Start with you close network. Reach out to a few niches you have access to. It can be through friends or your current network. Call them on the phone and tell them what you are doing. Ask them similar questions about their problems. Then pitch them on coming to location and creating a virtual tour. You will quickly hear the level of excitement and possible objections. Mark down notes including their feedback. When you make a connection with a niche who understands your service and grasp the value quickly, good you are on track.
It is also important to write down a rough calculation of the customers value. For example, if your chosen niche receives monthly recurring revenue, then they are more likely to pay you monthly recurring revenue for “hosting.” This increases the lifetime value of your customer and makes them much more attractive to target.
For example, if you target local property management companies with large apartment portfolios, you will have access to multi family money. And if you position your service as a “Luxury Digital Media Company,” you will be able to pitch larger clients. The math works in your favor when you target a large customer. Yes, this will take some work and experience. But if you set your targets high, you will be surprised how quickly you can gain traction.
My First Presale – How You Can Acquire Your First 30 Customers
This is a picture of me pitching a room full of real estate agents
I have a confession, at this point in my journey I had zero customers, and no camera. I pitched the room on the service, how it worked and what to expect. I had a single pano 360 demo (it wasn’t even a working virtual tour). I handed out on my phone with the demo. I was able to gauge a response right away. Then I handed out a simple signup sheet that said “I want a 360 tour” and I offered a special discount “One time offer” if you signed up today.
Guess what? 15 people signed up.
I still have a photo of that first signup sheet.
Its was amazing! I ran off to Best Buy and bought a 360 camera. Called these people and started to shoot some tours.
You can do this too. If you think outside the box and start to take action, you will quickly find folks to ‘raise their hand’ with interest.
Maybe its time to stop thinking about which camera to buy and start to pitch clients. When they say yes, your camera becomes paid for and your startup cost become tiny. Cool right!? Take some action today and see what happens.
How To Price Your 360 Virtual Tour Service
The number 1 question I receive from users on CloudPano.com, is “How much do I charge?” Of course my answer is, it depends. I think the answer depends on your market selection more than your experience.
Every time you market to a new client, expect to negotiate on price. If the client is a referral (my favorite type) then do not give them any discount for their first virtual tour. They will already have a level of trust from their contact.
Here is a sample pricing sheet we give out to our users:
Free Guide: Pricing Secrets Of 360 Virtual Tour Pros – Click Here
When you determine pricing, you can always start low and ramp it up as you pitch more people. Try to deliver pricing in person or over the phone. Watch their face and reaction. If they are totally fine with what you say (no flinching), you should pick a higher price. If they freak out, you can discuss a “discount” “if they refer you” to 2 more clients. Remember, if you are having a pricing conversation, they want to buy. Ask for the sale, make sure to follow up and always be closing.
How To Deliver Quickly And Get Paid
One of my favorite aspects about shooting virtual tours is the speed of creation. You can photograph a 2000 square foot house in 15 minutes. And when you upload the files to CloudPano.com you can create a virtual tour in less than 5 minutes. Send over a link to your client, followed by an invoice and get paid fast. I have used Paypal for years to send out invoices and receive payments. You can create a business account and quickly get users to pay you (its free to create an account). Getting paid is so important, and you don’t need to waste time calling people about money. Just click ‘send a reminder.’ And Paypal will send an email reminder to your clients. Also you can integrate a papal link right on your website that accepts payments through your shopping cart. Its easy to use and its free to sign up. And of course, if you can get paid in advance!
How To Scale Your Virtual Tour Business
When you first start your local virtual tour business, you take over every role in the business. See example flow of a lead:
You are responsible for all the touch points for your service delivery. This is totally normal. And you will feel this quickly when you start to get lots of work and projects booked.
Your goal is to replace yourself from the equation. As the company CEO, you will need to oversee each activity in your business. This way you can focus on company growth. Here is how your business will look:
You are the CEO.
Take on the proper role as the business owner and CEO. This will allow for you to optimize each step in your customers experience. When you reach this level of optimization, you will find yourself thinking big and only participating in the activities that you love.
Hiring Help – The Fast Way To Free Your Time
When I first started a virtual tour business, the first thing I did was hire someone to help me shoot locations. He was a high school kid named Patrick and he was home schooled (he had free time). He needed some extra cash before he went off to college. He was easy to work with and I was able to teach him the tech in one hour. It was the perfect fit. Having someone you can source opens your schedule and allows you to accept more gigs and projects as they come through the pipeline. Your future goal is to have 2 people on your team to schedule at any time. As projects come in, you can book them to location.
How To Find Your First Hire
Your first hire will be a unique story. Here is mine (feel free to copy)…
I saw a post on Next Door (the neighborhood app) where Patrick was shooting drone photos. I called him up and asked him if wanted to help me with my virtual tour start up. I trained him on location and started to send him out without me.
If you are just started out, this may seem silly. But when you have other established businesses (like me), time becomes your prized asset. When you learn the workflow and understand the tech, all you need is someone to take the photos for you. If they can press a button, they can create a virtual tour. You can set up the systems (like CloudPano.com) and establish a client network. Once you feel ready, hire your first young lad to help you (and pay them hourly). You will quickly be able to focus on sales, marketing, advertising and growth.
Removing yourself from photographing the virtual tours may sound crazy or far away in your journey. Don’t think this way. You can quickly convert your virtual tour business into an asset. And that is the level of thinking we cultivate at CloudPano.com.
How To Get Started Today
The key to success is business is to take action. If you try to learn every tool, camera, tech and software you will get lost and feel overwhelmed. Just pick a niche and start selling. You may fall flat on your face. But you will learn along the way. If you would like to find more sales minding entrepreneurs and you are ready to take your virtual tour business to the next level, check out CloudPano.com.
Here is a list of free resources to help you in your journey:
1) Check out the CloudPano blog – blog.cloudpano.com
2) Subscribe to the Virtual Tour Profit YouTube channel here – Click Here
3) Free Guide: Pricing Secrets Of 360 Virtual Tour Pros – Click Here
4) Free Download: The Top 5 Most Profitable Virtual Tour Niches – Click here
And of course, check out our world class 360 Virtual Tour Software platform built for the virtual tour entrepreneur, just like you: CloudPano.com
Thanks for reading! I will see you on the inside.
Co Founder at CloudPano.com
CloudPano.com Updates April 2019
Hey there! Here is some updates that we added to CloudPano (I am excited!).
- Info Spots – Add custom information directly onto your tour.
This is great for commercial projects. As your clients ask you to highlight certain areas, you can easily add the information right onto the tour. We have a short and long form info spot option. Check out the custom modal when you add your info spot information.
2) Rotate Hot Spots
You can now rotate your hot spot to the left or right. This can add some smooth distinction between hot spots on your virtual tour.
3) New Hot Spot Styles
Select white, black or image crystal ball for your hot spots.
4) Dashboard Redesign
See your tours in a beautiful dashboard experience.
5) Clone Your Tours!
You can now duplicate your virtual tours with one click. Just click clone!
6) Auto Motion Navigation Detection
Check out the figure icon on the view. This allows you to toggle between touch navigation and motion navigation. And if your users has “motion navigation” turned off. Our software will detect this and default to touch navigation. Although this looks very simple, its actually a VERY cool update that makes you (a virtual tour creator) look very smart.
Get started creating virtual tours on CloudPano right now!
Click here: Pro Plus
We are excited to announce that CloudPano and Insta360 are working together to make your virtual tour creation world class!
CloudPano.com is an official Insta360 virtual tour enterprise partner. This means we are working together to provide our users with hardware and software combinations to maximize your virtual tour success.
Make sure to check out the Insta 360 store and grab your Insta 360 One X here.
Also if you are brand new to the 360 virtual tours, grab our exclusive combo pack called the 360 Virtual Tour Starter Kit at our Starter Kit Page.
Learn More about the Insta 360 One X
Hey there! Recently our co founder Zach Calhoon was featured on the Real Estate Podcast Shooting Spaces:
Rich and Brian are real estate photography pros. They ask detailed questions about 360 photos and virtual tours. The interview will take you from complete beginner, to a 360 expert.
Check out their podcast and make sure to give them a great rating on iTunes!
From Shooting Spaces Podcast:
“In this weeks episode we sit down and talk with Zach Calhoon. Zach is the co-founder of CloudPano. CloudPano is a new software for creating and displaying your 360º images into an interactive virtual tour. Brian had a chance to try out the software and the biggest features he enjoyed were the clean user-interface, ease of use and that the tours are VR headset ready. Brian bought a VR headset on Amazon for just under $65 and it works perfectly with CloudPano.
It’s so easy now to do 360º images and if you do want to make it as easy as possible, you can pick up a Ricoh Theta for $350 and you have your 360º ready to go in under 2 minutes. This is a great add-on service for your real estate photography clients with a very minimal investment.
You can see a sample tour Brian made with CloudPano for his nursing home client by clicking here.
Zach was also kind enough to offer all of our listeners a special promotion. To take advantage of the promotion, use the following link:
How to make more money with 360 / 3D virtual tours?
Isn’t this a question we should be asking?
In the world of 360 virtual tour software, 360 cameras, virtual reality and high tech real estate marketing… there is a lot to discuss.
And its fun to track the new tech as it flows through the industry. Changes happen fast and its exciting!
Lets take a moment and focus on profit. Because you (and everyone) need more clients, more jobs and more revenue. Revenue justifies the tech.
Case Study Interview: How To Up-Sell Your Way To an Extra $20,000
Today we are highlight a CloudPano.com Pro Plus user Mark McKinney out of Fort Worth/Dallas Texas(River Oak Media). He has taken his residential photography business and added 360 virtual tours as a sweet up-sell to his clients.
When he started to show 360 tour examples through CloudPano.com on mobile (movement responsive tours). His clients we shocked “Nobody else is doing this!”
This tech has led to him averaging 30% to 40% of all his jobs requesting 360 tours. And its helped him recast his vision toward the luxury market as he expands his service network. Its this type of technology that creates natural referrals and builds authority. Amazing!
In this interview we cover:
- How to show your clients 360 tours for the first time.
- How to price (to make the sale a “no brainier”).
- How to capture the perfect 360 tour of a 2500 square foot home in 15 minutes.
- How to get feedback and become a “teammate” of the entire real estate office.
To watch the interview Click here
Make sure to download our free gift
Free Guide: Pricing Secrets Of 360 Virtual Tour Pros
How To Photograph a 3D / 360 Virtual Tour Of A Empty House
If you want to create a 360 virtual tour of a real estate property, you need to first create the 360 assets (take the pictures). There is lots of guides around the internet showing “How to create 3D tours…” with a variety of hardware and process steps.
Today we are going to keep it simple. Dead simple! Using the Insta 360 ONE X. Watch this video below and get started!
Ready to create your own 360 virtual tour on CloudPano.com? Get started free. Click here
Hey there! In this video I run through a example of speed. And why Cloudpano.com virtual tour software is a fast solution to create host and display 360 virtual tours.
Video Demo: Create 360 Virtual Tours Quickly
In this video I cover:
- How to upload a 360 photo.
- How to rearrange the 360 photos
- How add hot spots and connect the rooms
- How to move quickly and publish a beautiful
Ready to get started?
If you are ready to create your own 360 virtual tour on CloudPano.com
login free here: app.cloudpano.com
Dont have 360 photos available? No sweat, we made a sample tour demo for you to use and trial. You can even publish it to your account and show it off as your own 360 demo.
To use our sample tour:
- Click ‘play with sample tour’
- Create an amazing 360 real estate experience on CloudPano
- Click publish
Its easy! Congrats you are now a world class 360 provider and you can market in Virtual Reality. Cool!
See you inside.
Co Founder CloudPano.com
Get started here:
Hey there thanks for being a part our community here at CloudPano.com. We are excited to help your business grow as a premier 360 virtual tour platform.
Today lets discuss your business directly. And why it makes smart business sense to upgrade your account to the Pro Plus annual plan.
Our Pro Plus users get access to all our premium software features. Plus, each tour published will have the “Made with CloudPano” branding removed. You can publish unlimited virtual tours as a Pro Plus user. And you can white label your domain name automatically onto every virtual tour. We even provide you with a SSL certificate onto your Pro Plus tours. Our software will sit in the background, while your brand shows off the tour.
This means every tour you create, becomes your own automatically. And once this is set up, you are free to focus on growing your business, while we focus on providing a world class virtual tour platform.
Built For The Business Owner and Entrepreneur
Our 360 virtual tour software is built with the business owner in mind. We created a platform that empowers you to increase revenue by adding a valuable high tech service into your toolset. You will be able to create virtual tours quickly, and you can charge your clients affordable prices. Which will increase your virtual tour volume and your average order value per customer.
How To Make An Extra $20,000 With Pro Plus
For example: Mark from Fort Worth is a Pro Plus user and he sends outs 400 invoices a year as a real estate photographer. He guesses that 20% of his clients ask for 360/3D virtual tours. That means he can make an extra $15,000 to $20,000 this year using the CloudPano.com Pro Plus plan.
Our Pro Plus plan is a monthly subscription. But if you sign up for the annual plan you will receive an instant discount, and your payment is processed for the year. Pay once and get back to your business.
(Sometimes we even give out 2 months free to our annual plan users.)
So if you are ready to add 360 virtual tours directly into your business, and start cashing in on this technology. Become a Pro Plus user right now. Its time to upgrade.